Wednesday, August 13, 2014


MANILA-The camp of Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada manifested before the court last Tuesday his intention to conduct committee hearings inside the Camp Crame detention facility.
Through his legal counsel Sabino Acut, Jr., Sen. Estrada asked the justices of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division during the continuation of the hearing regarding his bail petition that he be allowed to perform his legislative function, particularly to preside over committee hearings in performance of his official capacity as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.
Sandiganbayan asked the counsels to submit a formal motion on the request within 5 days.
It can be recalled that the Senate leadership has deferred the implementation of the suspension order issued by the Sandiganbayan against Estrada pending resolution of his motion for reconsideration.
Sen. Estrada believes the hearing could be done inside the common area of the detention facility, as there is enough space to accommodate government officials and other stakeholders which may be called upon to attend as resource persons.
Sen. Estrada noted the precedence set by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who was able to hold committee meetings while he was detention in Camp Crame due to charges of a coup d’état.
Last June before the Senate adjourned sine die, Sen. Estrada took the floor to nominate Sen. Pia Cayetano in leading the passage of Anti-Discrimination in Workplace bill and to designate the labor committee vice chairman Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara to defend other pending measures before the plenary (bills which have already been tackled and passed by the committee and were sponsored by Estrada) in the event that he will not be able to do so.
Currently, Sen. Estrada is still able to write and submit legislative measures for consideration of the chamber.
Since he turned himself in to his father former President and incumbent Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, the lawmaker has continued drafting bills and so far introduced the following bills: Increasing the night shift differential rate for workers; Ensuring occupational health and safety of BPO workers; Institutionalizing a National Employment Facilitation Service Network for Persons with Disability; Penalizing No Permit-No Exam policy of schools, among others.
The younger Estrada is also working on a bill which seeks to improve the inhuman condition of penal systems and heavy congestion of our jails. He cited a news report which says that a cell in Quezon City Jail houses dozens of inmates way beyond its intended capacity.
“Siyempre nakakaawa naman ang mga ibang akusado, mga ibang nasa loob ng kulungan. Ang balita ko sa Quezon City Jail doon sa isang kuwarto, sa isang kulungan, 138 na katao tapos iisa lang ang banyo. I think that is inhuman,” Jinggoy lamented.
On a related note, Sen. Estrada filed last year various measures seeking to improve the imprisonment facilities and its management, such as Senate Bill 2031 or the proposed Professionalization of Prison Management Act, Senate Bill 1552 which provides for an integrated jail facility in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized centers, Senate Bill 1602 which prescribes stricter penalties on the crime of delivering prisons from jail and infidelity in the custody of prisoners, and Senate Bill 1967 which provides reparation to wrongly jailed individuals.

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